For a long time, Lisbon was the most underrated of the European capitals, but today, more and more people are discovering the delights of this seven-hilled city by the sea. With pretty much year-round sunshine, a rich cultural heritage, and world class restaurants, shops and nightlife, Lisbon is an intoxicating experience. There is so much to see and do that this city deserves time to explore, so why not rent one of the city’s beautiful villas or roomy apartments and give yourself the opportunity to discover for yourself Lisbon’s unique charms.
A city of magnificent architecture
You don’t have to be a student of architecture to appreciate the wonderful variety of buildings which tell the story of Lisbon from the times of the Romans. Its hilly location, on the banks of the Tagus river make it a city of light, shadow and breath-taking vistas and its grand architecture is everywhere. The Sao Jorge Castle, begun in Roman times but extensively rebuilt by the Moors, is literally unmissable, dominating, as it does, the Lisbon skyline. The Convento do Carmo is an evocative Gothic ruin and the Belem Tower, at the mouth of the Tagus, an outstanding example of Manuelline architecture. Lisbon also has a number of stunning modern buildings, like the metal and glass palm tree fantasy of the Gare do Oriente.
Portuguese food at the Time Out Market Lisboa
Situated at Avenida 24 de Julho Mercado da Ribeira, this food market boasts the best of everything and at its food hall you can sample the great variety of traditional and fusion food that the city has to offer. You can eat simply, a traditional meat croquette followed by a pasteis de nata, the custard pies for which the city is famous, or you can try something a little more sophisticated, like roast octopus with black tapioca. With over 40 restaurants to choose from you’ll be sure to find something delicious, whatever your tastes.
Try a glass of wine or two
Portuguese wine has not seen the level of commercial development of France or Spain but with around 240 grape varieties, its delicious wines, made by traditional methods, are a treat to discover. Sitting in a wine bar, like the Alfaia Garrafeira in the Bairro Alto, drinking a glass of Portuguese wine, nibbling on some delicious local snacks and watching the world go by is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the afternoon. If you are looking for a bottle or two to take home, the Garrafeira Nacional is the best wine shop in Portugal.
Begun in 1501 to commemorate the voyage of Vasco da Gama, this World Heritage Site is a magnificently ornate reminder of Portugal’s golden age of exploration. The columns of the cloisters are appropriately carved with coils of rope, sea monsters and coral.
The wooden, bright yellow Remodelado Tram 28 follows a perfect sightseeing route through the city and all for under 3euros. Trams come every 20 minutes and seat 20, with room for another 30 standing. In summer, however, the queues can be substantial, so an alternative is to walk the 7km route and take the nearly empty tram back.